In July, Gerwig was among more than 60 artists who signed a letter calling on Lincoln Center to cancel performances of “To the End of the Land,” presented “with support of Israel’s Office of Cultural Affairs in North America.”
The letter was organized by Adalah-NY, which calls for the boycott of Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.
At the Brooklyn headquarters for the publishing house Verso Books at a September 18 standing-room-only panel on free speech and Palestine solidarity sponsored by Adalah-NY and Jewish Voice for Peace, panelist Susan Abulhawa, the acclaimed author of Mornings in Jenin, disclosed a little-known additional fact of Tatour’s case: After Israeli soldiers arrested Tatour on the charge of incitement, one piece of evidence prosecutors presented in court was the fact that Tatour recited a commemoration of the 1956 massacre of Palestinians at Kafr Qasim.
On September 18, join writers Susan Abulhawa and Sarah Schulman, poet Aja Monet, and legal expert Radhika Sainath as they discuss the repression of Palestinian cultural production as well as the increasingly harsh attempts here in the United States to silence criticism of Israeli government policies.
Free (Speech) Palestine continues the conversation about solidarity and the role of the artist that was sparked by the campaign calling on PEN America to reject Israeli government sponsorship for its World Voices Festival. The evening’s conversation will address the conditions under which Palestinian artists labor, the Palestinian call for the cultural boycott of Israel, and efforts to criminalize BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) in the United States.
David Grossman’s novel To the End of the Land tells the story of an Israeli mother’s journey after her son is summoned for military service. It’s a story about loss, love and the harsh realities of war written by a talented and subtle writer, a left-leaning critic of the Israeli government. Hanan Snir’s stage adaptation was presented at Lincoln Center and as a lefty Jewish American playwright I really wished I could see it. But I couldn’t.
Now Regev is expected to meet the creators of the play once again, this time on another distinguished stage, at the Lincoln Center Festival in New York. It is hard to believe that when Grossman allowed Habima and The Cameri, Israel’s leading theaters, to stage his novel, he expected to stand shoulder to shoulder with Regev against the BDS campaign.
In the weeks before the festival, that first production drew fire when several dozen artists (Caryl Churchill, Wallace Shawn, Lynn Nottage and Taylor Mac among them) signed a letter protesting the play on the grounds that the Israeli government had helped sponsor it and that the companies involved had performed in Israeli settlements within the occupied territories.
The protest’s organizer, Adalah-NY, accused Lincoln Center of “helping the Israeli government to implement its systematic ‘Brand Israel’ strategy of employing arts and culture to divert attention from the state’s decades of violent colonization.”
New York, NY, July 24 – An Israeli government-supported theater initiative begins tonight at Lincoln Center, despite a protest letter signed by over 80 artists. The Lincoln Center performances are taking place against a backdrop of heightened Israeli government repression of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation in the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and revelations that 43 Senators hope to implement a law that could make it a felony for Americans to support similar boycott protests against Israel. Reported plans by Israel’s anti-Palestinian Minister of Culture Miri Regev to travel to New York for the performances underline the importance the hardline Israeli government places on its Lincoln Center partnership.
In the letter to Lincoln Center the artists called for the cancellation of Monday’s performance because it is part of the Israeli government’s Brand Israel public relations strategy and because the Israeli theater groups involved, Ha’Bima and Cameri, have played in and legitimized Israel’s illegal settlements. The signers of the letter to Lincoln Center include winners of numerous theater awards, including four Pulitzers, three Tonys, and nine Obies.